USC’s Roski Eye Institute to Launch Certified Ophthalmic Education Program

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LOS ANGELES—The University of Southern California (USC) Roski Eye Institute will offer the first educational program in California, one of only 14 programs nationwide, to train certified ophthalmic technicians with its Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP) beginning January, 2017.

The USC OTEP will create highly skilled allied health professionals who guide patients and families on understanding their vision conditions, ensure compliance with treatment protocols and conduct various tests and procedures that inform ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and treatments of eye diseases and vision conditions, Roski Eye Institute said in a statement. The 21-month program includes academic course work as well as clinical setting training from experts at the USC Roski Eye Institute, a Top 10 nationally ranked ophthalmology program by U.S. News and World Report for more than 20 years.

"Vision health requires a team of experts working collaboratively and certified ophthalmic technicians combine the clinical, managerial and social components needed for the optimum eyecare patient experience," said Joseph Cocozza, assistant professor of research at USC Roski Eye Institute and co-director of the OTEP program.

"Our program brings needed training to California and helps to address the shortage of health care professionals, especially for older eyecare patients. It also offers an attractive career path for our nation's veteran population."

Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, director of the USC Roski Eye Institute and dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, added, "Our program offers students an unprecedented educational experience not only working alongside some of the nation's top vision experts at USC Roski Eye Institute but also gaining the hands-on training from our USC ophthalmologists at one of the busiest trauma centers in the country through our exclusive affiliation with L.A. County+USC Medical Center as well as addressing pediatric eye health through our affiliation at the prestigious Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We're proud to bring this educational opportunity to students at USC and lead the West Coast on training the next generation of eyecare technicians."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growing demand for ophthalmic technicians, especially with the increasing number of older Americans who experience visual impairment such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye health issues. Research conducted by the USC Roski Eye Institute shows that the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness will double by 2050 based on aging U.S. population statistics.

For more information about how eyecare practitioners are helping ageing Baby Boomers cope with eye problems, read “Saving Boomers’ Sight,” part of a Vision Monday’s three-part series on the ageing eye.

To learn more or apply for the Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP), visit: USCEye.org or click here to view the video.